This page tells where this site came from, what it’s for, and how it’s created and maintained — sort of a “behind the scenes” look. I also collected rave reviews and reprint them over on the right side of the page.

History of the Encyclopedia The Culture Jammer’s Encyclopedia, is a labor of love that was created by Dave Gross. It is hosted by Laughing Squid and is assisted by web surfers and snigglers like yourself.

Nobody is making money from this or advertising their stuff here. I created this site because I wished I could find pages like this on the Web. Now I can, and so can you, and I’ve earned many a smile. I stopped actively maintaining these pages in the early 2000s, but haven’t had the heart to shut the site down.

The Sniggle

This site was born back in the 1990s as a single page with the filling yet informative title of Trolls, Hoaxes, Culture Jamming, Poetic Terrorism, Media Hacks, Frauds, Impostors, Spoofs, Counterfeits, Fakes, Pranks, Scams, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. covers a lot of strange ground — I think there exists something that connects religion and Barbie Liberation Organization, P.T. Barnum and the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, the Pieman and O.J. Simpson. I give whatever that thing is the name “sniggle,” and I think that whatever you call it, it merits study.

Most of this site highlights deception, but it’s not because I have a thing for liars and cheats. I think there’s a brand of immunizing deception that helps us to expose and correct the lies we tell ourselves and the webs of falsehood that make up our societies. Harmless fibs can remind us that we’ve dropped our guard and let the Big Lies in.

Pranks and hoaxes and delusions and frauds remind us that we’re easily fooled and that we aren’t nearly as smart as we sometimes think we are. The trickster, by taking us down a notch, does us a valuable service. It’s when we start acting clever that we summon forth the worst of humanity’s evils.

So I presented this site in the hope that it will inspire as much as it informs or entertains. I think people are all too frequently blind to the ways in which our lives are so very messed up by our culture, and the extent to which we each help to maintain this blindness and this painful absurdity. Sniggling, whether or not it is performed with any such awareness, helps to poke holes in the veil we spend so much time helping each other to construct.

The Culture Jammer’s Encyclopedia isn’t meant to be an encyclopedia of culture jammers, so much as an encyclopedia for culture jammers — exposing the cracks in a culture where a sniggler can hide the semantic explosives.

If you want to know more about my motives and my interest in sniggling, I’ve put some excerpts from interviews I’ve given on the subject here.

Organism and Mechanism

Within the soul of today’s human being is a battle between organic chaos and mechanical order. On one side: life, libido, novelty; on the other: machinery, standardization, law. Every time you are confronted with choices and, instead of playing one of society’s designated rôles, you choose “none of the above” and find yourself alone in a nameless category — you score a point for our team.

If you note an insurrectionary undercurrent running through these pages, you’re right on target. My feeling is that when the enemy is an army of deadening algorithms, committing buffoonery is tantamount to revolution:

“Everybody understands Mickey Mouse. Few understand Herman Hesse. Hardly anyone understands Albert Einstein. And nobody understands Emperor Norton.”…

Joshua Norton, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico… He lived in the [19th] century and got to be emperor by proclaiming himself as such. For some mysterious reason, the newspapers decided to humor him and printed his proclamations. When he started issuing his own money, the local banks went along with the joke and accepted it on par with U.S. currency. When the vigilantes got into a lynching mood one night and decided to go down to Chinatown and kill some Chinese, Emperor Norton stopped them just by standing in the street with his eyes closed reciting the Lord’s Prayer….

Well, chew on this for a while, friend: there were two very sane and rational anarchists who lived about the same time as Emperor Norton across the country in Massachusetts: William Green and Lysander Spooner. They also realized the value of having competing currencies instead of one uniform State currency, and they tried logical arguments, empirical demonstrations and legal suits to get this idea accepted. They accomplished nothing. The government broke its own laws to find ways to suppress Green’s Mutual Bank and Spooner’s People’s Bank. That’s because they were obviously sane, and their currency did pose a real threat… But Emperor Norton was so crazy that people humored him and his currency was allowed to circulate.

from The Eye in the Pyramid
Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson

You never know when one of these opportunities is going to present itself, or in what form it will come. It helps to be alert, and to have good examples (for instance, the ones at this site) of the wise and mischievous people who have broken out before.

And silliness is part of the fun — I can rant and rave about the subversive potential of pranks, but sometimes joy and fun are their own reward, and you’ll find plenty of this here as well. The artist in you may also find a new set of canvases to play with here.


Thanks for your words of encouragement and for suggesting links. If you want to get ahold of me, please write to me at If you’d like to help potential snigglers find this resource by linking to, you are encouraged to use one of our banners — take a look; I made ’em myself and I’m kind of proud of ’em.

Another way you can help is to write one of our Special Reports — know anything about the Howard Hughes autobiography or George Psalmanazar? Write up a report and I’ll publish it here. Check out our reports on Brian G. Hughes, Captain von Köpenick, Dr. Drown’s Homo-Vibra Ray and Brother Jed for inspiration.

Or make your own web site to follow some lead that I’ve left unfollowed or to pursue your own interest. Web presence isn’t just a bauble for institutions; it’s for anyone with a yen for communicating a personal interest.

But the best way you can help is to join up with some like-minded crazies (or go solo if you wish) and start to color outside the lines. Do something to disrupt the status quo, then document it (without generating excess evidence), and let me add it to the collection.

Design Philosophy

If you happen to be interested in this sort of thing, here are a few words about the design philosophy I kept in mind when designing this site. (Though note, this was written in the early 2000s.)

Today there are a dizzying array of “standards” for things like HTML, and an ever-increasing number of additional content-presentation and interaction tools such as style sheets, JavaScript, Flash, etc.

My approach to this site is to try, whenever possible, to accomodate visitors who don’t have the best and latest computers, browsers, and plug-ins, and who may be bandwidth-poor. So no Flash, no JavaScript (or, if I do use JavaScript, I do it in such a way that it doesn’t break browsers that don’t support it).

Eventually I’ll almost certainly move the site more thoroughly to style sheets, but currently I use PHP to pull some of the same tricks that people use style sheets for, but on the server side rather than the client side so I don’t have to rely on your browser doing the right thing — it’s harder this way, but more backwards-compatible. I don’t specify a font or a fixed font size in my pages but instead try to make them flexible enough so that they will render well with whatever font you prefer in your browser.

I do my HTML/PHP coding by hand in a text editor rather than using a WYSIWYG editor. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I feel much more confident with what I’m writing this way, and it’s easier to spot bugs. (Those damned WYSIWYG editors seem to spit out really ugly HTML — full of Winchester Mystery Tables and misplaced tags and such.) I almost exclusively use “XHTML 1.0 Transitional,” erring on the side of backward-compatibility.

If you see something on this site that doesn’t work with your browser, please let me know about it. I don’t have all of the browsers to test with, and a lot of browsing mechanisms — text-to-speech converters, braille browsers and the like — are completely foreign to me.

I do not like pop-ups and will not use them. I do use cookies, but if you decide not to take the cookies I offer, you can use the site just as well as anyone else. I will never send you spam email for browsing here. I don’t include any advertising content on the site because I think such stuff is ugly.

If you’re interested in more information about how I do what I do, read the XHTML source. If you want to know why I do what I do, just ask me.

Oh yeah, and “sniggle” is a verb that means to fish for eels by slipping a baited hook into their hiding places. In case you were curious.

Read our Privacy Policy
(or don’t)


Courtesy of The Internet Archive — a snapshot of what this site looked like on 6 May 1997 and on 1 February 2003.

xhtml validator xhtml validator vi vi PHP PHP
Disumbrationist League Disumbrationist League Disumbrationist League

– DM


– MB

– Modemac

Yahoo!’s Picks of the Week


Positive Propaganda

– RJ

– GR

– iWorld

– CB

– FT

– MC

– MB

– CWC (Entertainment Weekly)


– NM

The Parking Lot is Full


The Memory Hole

San Francisco Bay Guardian


Claire Wolfe


– Yahoo! Cool Links: Surfers’ Picks: Nancy

– Dragonfly

Mr. Nice

– RN

Jamming the Media



– chanok

– JQ



– Supergeek

– TooSquare Magazine

– Internet News

Curiouser and Curiouser



O Lado Negro da WEB

Clothespins for the Revolution


– Expresso

“Suppenbaron” Alex

– Organelle


– SH




anastasiav, Metafilter



The Victoria Advocate

Home Home email email

On This Day in SniggleryJune 25, 2001: Michael Kinsley, editor of Slate, finally admits that the magazine’s report on the bizarre sport of monkey fishing was “willful inaccuracy.” (See News Trolls for more info)